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Women and microcredit in rural agrarian households of Uganda: Match or mismatch between lender and borrower?
Published August 1, 2016
77-88

The alignment of microfinance programs with the context and expectations of the recipients is critical for ensuring clients’ satisfaction and desired program outcomes. This study sought to investigate the extent to which the objectives and design of the BRAC microfinance program match the expectations, context and characteristics of female bo...rrowers in a rural agrarian setting in Uganda. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to obtain socio-demographic, personality and microenterprise (ME) characteristics of existing borrowers, incoming borrowers and non-borrowers and to obtain information about the microcredit program. We found that BRAC uses a modified Grameen group-lending model to provide small, high-interest rate production loans and follows a rigorous loan processing and recovery procedure. BRAC clients are mainly poor subsistence farmers who derive income from diverse farming and non-farm activities. The major objective to borrow is to meet lump-sum monetary needs usually for school fees and for investment in informal small non-farm businesses. Many borrowers use diverse sources of funds to meet repayment obligations. Defaulting on loans is quite low. The stress caused by weekly loan repayment and resolution of lump-sum cash needs were identified as reasons for women to stop borrowing. The limited loan amounts, the diversions of loans to non-production activities, the stages of the businesses and the weekly recovery program without a grace period may limit the contribution of these loans to ME expansion and increase in income.

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The direct and indirect costs associated with food hypersensitivity in households: A study in the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain
Published August 1, 2016
107-117

Background: Recent studies show that food hypersensitivity, such as food allergy or food intolerance, has the potential to affect direct, indirect and intangible economic costs experienced by individuals and their families. This research assesses the direct and indirect economic costs of food hypersensitivity at the household l...evel in the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain.
Methods:  A self-administered postal survey was conducted (n=1558). Respondents with food hypersensitivity were clinically diagnosed cases recruited through clinical centres in Poland and Spain. In the Netherlands, food hypersensitivity cases were recruited through hospitals, patient organisations and advertisements. The controls formed the baseline sample and were obtained from households in which none of the members had food hypersensitivity. The monetary value of indirect costs, forgone time, was calculated using the opportunity cost method. The indirect and direct costs were expressed in purchasing power parity. Analysis of co-variance on the cost items was used to test the within-country differences between respondents with food hypersensitivity and respondents without food hypersensitivity, as well as across the three countries.
Results: The average total direct and indirect costs across all countries for families with food hypersensitive family members are not higher than for households without food hypersensitive members. However, the intangible costs for food hypersensitive individuals appear to be higher than for individuals in the control group.
Conclusions: These results do not support the hypothesis that all food allergies incur high costs to the individual. However, being hypersensitive to foods may have a negative impact on quality of life compared to people who are not food hypersensitive.

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